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I swirl my hips and coins fall from Heaven.

Lakshmi ("Good Fortune"), sometimes called Sri ("Prosperity") is the Hindu Goddess of love and beauty Who brings wealth. She is the wife of Vishnu, and was born from the Sea, like Aphrodite, fully grown and gorgeous.

The tale goes that the Gods were in need of renewal, and a plan was made to churn the great Ocean of Milk to make soma, the divine food that grants immortality, in the same way that cream is churned to butter. This was done on the requisite grand scale by using Mount Mandara as the churning paddle. The great snake Vasuki was wrapped around the mountain and pulled by the Gods on the one side and the Asuras or demons on the other. This produced a lot of heat (much like a bow-type firestarter works) and eventually, though the poor serpent was pretty uncomfortable being yanked this way and that, many great treasures were produced: the hoped-for soma; Parijata, the Tree of Paradise; Varuni Goddess of Wine; the Apsaras; the Sun and the Moon; and finally Lakshmi Herself, seated on an open lotus. Vishnu fell in love with Her immediately and They were wedded.

Lakshmi is a beautiful and much-beloved Goddess, and in fact Vishnu is often referred to with the title "Husband of Lakshmi." She is called the "Lotus Goddess" and is often shown holding one as Her emblem. She is also Goddess of abundance, fertility and wealth. Holly basil is sacred to Her and said to bring children. Lakshmi is sometimes represented as a basket full of rice and is depicted on coins, or with coins falling from Her hands.

Lakshmi and Vishnu are bound together in love through time. As Vishnu is descendent in His avatars, Lakshmi is also reborn as His wife—as Sita ("the Furrow"), She is the wife of Rama and Goddess of the fertile Earth; and as Rukmini ("Twilight") She is married to Krishna.

In a reading this card signifies good fortune and prosperity as well as spirituality and the beauty of this earthly world. This card reminds us that riches, prosperity and material comforts need not be viewed as shallow or non-spiritual; Lakshmi sees over both the spiritual and material in beauty and joy.

Alternate spellings: Sree, Laxmi

Alternate incarnations: Sita, Rukmini, Kamala ("Lotus" or "Desire"), Radha ("Success"), Varahini (wife of Varaha, Vishnu in His Boar incarnation), Dharani, Mahalakshmi ("Great Lakshmi") the shakti of Vishnu as Narayana.

Titles: Ksirabdhitanaya ("Daughter of the Ocean of Milk"), Jaladhija ("Ocean Born"), Padma ("Lotus") or Padmavati ("Lotus-bearer").

This design is available on prints through ArtPal.


Ch'ang O